When was the last time you had to enter a password twice after creating or linking an account to Google? Probably a long time ago right? Have you wondered why Google always saves your information? Is it because it is trying to make things convenient for you or is there something shady at play? Google thrives on your information. It uses your data to attract advertisers who can use your data to bombard you with ads. So how do you deal with Google especially?
Google hasn’t made it easy for you to just stop using its services. Your whole career and/or business may revolve around using tools and services provided by Google. From Gmail to Google+, Youtube to Google maps, and lots of other tools are being used every day which increases our dependability on Google. A large amount of data is recorded through Google Chrome (browser) and Google (search engine).
But is there a way for you to take control of your privacy without having to quit Google once and forever? Yes, you may not be able to stop Google 100% but you sure can limit it to a great extent by following the steps we are going to discuss today.
First, download your data from Google:
European regulations have kind of forced Google into allowing its users to download their data. Once you download the data from Google, you’ll be amazed to learn how much data is being collected from you. Let’s see how you can download your data from Google.
- Open “myaccount.google.com/data-and-personalization”
- Scroll down to find “Download, delete or make a plan for your data”
- Now tap on “Download your data”
- On the next screen, you are required to check the services you want to download the data from.
- If you want to download data from specific services, select them or select all if you want to download data from all the services.
- Now you will need to select the method for downloading your data. There’re various options available using which you can download your data.
- After finalizing the options, tap on “Create Archive”
- You’re done
Second, delete the data Google has on You:
Here’s the best part of doing all this, “once you delete your data Google has, it will not have access to years of data it has been collecting on you” You will be as if you have just started using Google. Excited? Let’s do it.
- Open “myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols”
- Once you are in the dashboard, there are multiple categories for you to explore. From web and apps to data collected on Youtube, you can visit each of them to check on your data. However, Web & App Activity will have the most data on you.
- Tap on “Manage Activity”
- Click on the three dots in the top right corner.
- Now you will need to sort out how you want to delete your data. Once you select ”Delete activity by”, you shall be represented with multiple options.
- Scroll down and tap on “All Time”
- Confirm by tapping on “Delete”
How to save yourself by opting out of personalized ads?
You must have thought about how Google makes money when almost all the services it offers are free? Let me tell you. Google’s business model rests on advertisement revenue. It uses the information gathered from you to build a profile using which it generates revenue by offering your data to third-party advertisers and marketers.
But you don’t have to succumb to what Google wants for you. Here’s how you can opt-out of Google Ads.
- Launch ads settings.google.com
- If you see a switch turned “blue” it means that Google is serving you personalized ads. Turn it off to opt-out.
How to stop Google from collecting any future data?
Well, honestly, you have come a long way. You are now safer than millions of people out there who would never care for their privacy. But there’s still some work left to do. You need to stop Google from building up data on you in the future. In the next section, we are going to learn how to stop Google from collecting your data in the near future.
- Launch myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols
- Again, if the switch is blue, it means Google is and will be collecting your data.
- Turn it off to opt-out.
- Remember, Google doesn’t want you to stop it from collecting your data. So, when you will try to turn the switch off, it will show you a fancy prompt scaring you with a message that Google may act differently if you turn off the switch.
- Tap on “Pause”
How to stop Chrome sync?
Do you know what’s really ironic about Chrome? While being the most used browser on this planet, it is also the most data collecting browser available. Once you log in using your Google account, your browser will start recording everything you do and browse using Chrome. This data will be stored by Google and used against you to show personalized advertisements. Here’s how to stop Chrome Sync.
- In the top right corner of Chrome, tap on the three-dots.
- In the menu, tap on “Settings”
- Scroll down to find the “Advanced” feature and tap on it.
- Select “Privacy and Security”
- The second option should be “Allow Chrome Sign-in”
- Turn it off.
Using Privacy-Oriented Search Engines:
In recent years, new search engines have been introduced in the market that has identified the pain point of consumers (privacy issues) and redesigned their search engines to be more privacy-oriented than ever. Also, when you are using a privacy-oriented search engine, your personal searches and online activities stay with you. Especially a search engine like DuckDuck Go that never records your personal searches.
Extensions that offer privacy:
Not everyone would be comfortable switching their browser from Chrome to some other. If you feel uncomfortable thinking about changing your browser, I have another solution for you–using privacy-oriented extensions.
Some of the best privacy-focused extensions available for most browsers are:
- ublock origin
- Privacy Badger
- HTTPS Everywhere
Using a Privacy-Oriented Browser:
Here’s another viable and really useful solution for protecting your data online without compromising your privacy, data, or experience.
The first browser I would recommend to you is the Tor Browser. It is a browser that was specially designed and built for the U.S Navy. They wanted to have an internal communication tool where no one could identify their online activities and conversations and thus came Tor Browser into being. It was later opened to the public.
Secondly, I would recommend DuckDuck Go’s privacy browser. It is an exquisitely designed browser that is focused on your privacy. It never records your private searches and never delivers your data to third-party vendors.
Lastly, I would recommend Mozilla Firefox as a viable alternative to Google’s Chrome. It has redefined itself as a privacy-focused browser that really cares for its consumers. You can be much better off with Firefox than Chrome. With its highly useful features such as transcript blocking, turning off tracking and useful extensions, you will not miss Chrome.
While it may seem to you that the internet has become a really hazardous place for your privacy, there are still tools you can use to ensure your privacy. These tools come in a variety of shapes like a proxy, firewall, speed tests, browsers, extensions, VPN, and many others.
By investing a small fee in these tools, you can protect your privacy and stay safe along with your loved ones.